In the dawn hours of Monday, Sept. 18, Y-Drive driver Bob Davidson noticed his windshield had been smashed.
"They totally immobilized like my car," he said. "I had to be towed to the body shop in Bracebridge on a flatbed truck. I couldn't even drive it to the body shop."
In addition to Davidson, two other coworkers suffered similar attacks on their cars recently.
Driver Tedd Bionda said he’s had two windshields broken since late September.
"It wasn't very good because it was late in the afternoon when we were driving up the driveway when my wife said, 'Your window of your other car is broken,'" said Y-Drive driver Tedd Bionda. "I parked, I went around the car parked in the driveway, and sure enough, it was smashed quite well."
The second time was the morning of Monday, Oct. 2.
"That makes four windshields so far. I think it is a targeted thing," Bionda said.
Y-Drive started its rideshare business in Huntsville last fall. Differing from cabs, it is similar to Uber or Lyft, in which customers use an app to order a ride. Aside from that, drivers are the owners of their vehicles and are not Y-Drive employees.
David Joyce, Y-Drive recruitment manager, said the assaults are impacting drivers and the business. Joyce said if the “objective of this assault is to get our drivers to quit ... it's about to work.”
"When I see these windshields getting smashed, I think about the tow truck wars," the manager added, referencing reported incidents of violence in the towing industry. "It starts just like this and escalates into people blowing up each other's vehicles. I'm worried about who we're dealing with and how far they're willing to go."
Despite the vandalism, drivers know the Huntsville community is supporting them and the business.
"The community has embraced us," said Y-Drive owner Rob Davidson. "Thanks to these drivers and their relationships with our clients, we've become a go-to transportation provider."
According to OPP media officer Dana Morris, police are investigating and would like to speak with anyone with information regarding this incident.
"If the public has information, we ask them to call 1-888-310-1122, or if they want to remain anonymous, they can call Crime Stoppers at 705-326-4496 or online at crimestopperssdm.com," she said.
By Oct. 3, OPP had received four reports of broken windshields from Y-drive drivers.
Y-Drive drivers said they are reviewing dashcam footage.
"For our drivers to be approached, cornered or vandalized for simply doing their job is disgusting," said Davidson. "If someone has an issue with our company, they can easily look up our business address and not play bully with our hard-working driving partners.”
Julian Orlando Chaves is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter with the Huntsville Forester. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Huntsville Forester